With this announcement, Babar Azam will now lead Pakistan across all three formats of the game.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday announced the appointment of Babar Azam as the national side’s Test captain. He replaces 35-year-old Azhar Ali with immediate effect.
Azam, who is already leading Pakistan’s T20 and ODI sides, will now skipper his country across all three formats.
Announcing the captaincy, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said “Babar Azam was identified at a very young age as a future leader and as part of his progression and development, he was appointed white-ball captain last year. With his consistent performance and leadership skills, he has demonstrated that he is ready to take on the additional responsibilities of a captain.
“As we are looking into the future, it is appropriate that we appoint him the captain now so that he continues to grow stronger with every match. I wish Babar all the best and remain optimistic that he will help Pakistan cricket make an upward movement across all formats not only through his performance but also with his positive attitude and result-oriented approach.”
Mani also had words of praise for out-going captain Azhar Ali.
“I want to thank Azhar Ali for stepping up last year by captaining the side in what was a historic first home Test series in over a decade. I believe Azhar still has a lot of cricket left in him and Pakistan cricket can continue to make the best use of his experience and knowledge as a specialist top-order batsman moving forward.”
Babar Azam, who made his Test debut for Pakistan against the West Indies in 2016, said he’s prepared to take up additional responsibility. “I feel truly honoured to have been appointed Test captain and join some of the most iconic players who have captained Pakistan in the purest format of the game. I can now say with conviction that dreams can come true only if you chase them with honesty, dedication and commitment.
“I am ready and prepared to take up the additional responsibility and the fact which gives me additional confidence is that I can do the job is the experience that is available to me in the changing room in the shape of the players and support staff.
The 26-year-old also thanked his predecessor, saying “I want to thank Azhar Ali for the way he captained the team in the last season, which was a difficult one, but I know that he will leave no stone unturned in giving his very best to the team.”
Babar has been a crucial part of the Pakistan Test line-up since the start of 2018, since when he has scored 1570 runs at 62.80, an average which places him behind only Marnus Labuschagne among batsmen who have scored at least 1000 runs in the period. His first assignment as Pakistan’s Test captain will be a challenging two-match Test series in New Zealand beginning later this year.
Featured Image: Twitter / ICC